Second hearing into Gezi victim Ali İsmail Korkmaz’s murder begins in exile

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The second hearing into the murder of Gezi protester Ali İsmail Korkmaz has started today in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri, where the case was moved for alleged security reasons from Eskişehir, where the murder was committed.
The 19-year-old died after spending 38 days in a coma last July, eventually succumbing to the wounds he suffered when he was savagely beaten with sticks by plainclothes men while participating in a demonstration in Eskişehir on June 2.
The trial has drawn huge attention as many believe shedding light on Korkmaz’s murder may also have an effect on several other cases regarding the deaths of Gezi victims, including the investigation into Berkin Elvan’s death.
Ali İsmail Korkmaz’s parents, Emel and Şahap Korkmaz, entered the courtroom holding their son’s pictures in their hands.
Sami Elvan, the father of Berkin Elvan, the latest victim of the Gezi protests who died in March after spending around nine months in a coma, as well as the brother of Ethem Sarısülük, who was shot point-blank by a police officer during Gezi protests in Ankara, also attended the hearing in support of the Korkmaz family.
Lawyers said a dozen key witnesses were expected to give testimony during today’s hearing.
The eight murder suspects include four police officers, who have denied administrating the fatal beating during an emotive first hearing last February.
“New evidence laid down in the expert report has disproved police testimonies,” Gürkan Korkmaz, elder brother of Korkmaz and also a lawyer in the case, told AFP. “We are demanding the immediate arrest of the suspects pending trial,” he said.
Footage showing the beating triggered outrage across the country, while many global organizations denounced the impunity with which Turkish police officers are permitted to act.
Further controversy erupted when the case was divided into four, as the main case was transferred far from Eskişehir, where Korkmaz was studying, strengthening the perception that the main trial was being sent to a conservative city in an effort to prevent protests.
Some of the witnesses were set to testify in Eskişehir and Ankara, while the family of Korkmaz was to testify in their hometown of Hatay.

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